Gordon Ramsay is best known for his television temper, but you won’t see that when the Keweenaw Peninsula is featured in an episode this summer for his show, “Uncharted.” Filming was done last year, confirming long-running speculation about Ramsay’s visit.
National Geographic producers had originally envisioned a focus on all of the Upper Peninsula, but that changed after a phone call to James Rigato. He runs a trendy restaurant in Hazel Park, just outside Detroit, and has been featured on national shows like “Top Chef.” Rigato says he is sick of the competition format, but “Uncharted” offered a new and different experience, bringing him back to the small screen.
Rigato has an infectious love of the area. He says he has been visiting once a month for over 15 years now.
He is currently renovating a farmhouse near Eagle River and wants to make it his year-round home. Rigato acts as guide for Ramsay and his crew, which means this area became a cast member too, at least for one week. It was Rigato’s first time meeting Ramsay, who he says is a great man of the people and appreciative, almost comfortable, in a place where Cornish pasties are a staple, along with hunting and a strong mining history.
Other scenes viewers can look forward to are shipwreck diving in Lake Superior and woodcock hunting. Rigato said he personally hosted a crew party at Fitzgerald’s in Eagle River. Photos have surfaced of Ramsay at Suomi Restaurant for breakfast. Keweenaw Convention and Visitor Bureau Executive Director Brad Barnett says he has heard that Gemignani’s Italian Restaurant received two trips from Ramsay because he liked what they were doing there so much. Ramsay was here for at least a week and a half.
Rigato says the show’s format means you get something more real than the made-for-television drama the reality genre is famous for. The theme of the episode, if there is one, is how a downstate chef and Ramsay crack the code to figure out the Yooper lifestyle.
No date has been announced for the Keweenaw episode. “Uncharted” airs on National Geographic and can be found on the Disney Plus streaming service on demand.